Women Work Force Participation Rate In India

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The female work force participation rate of a country indicates the economic empowerment of women in the society. In India, women constitute almost one half of the population, but only less than one‐third of total workforce. It is evident that women employment is being under enumerated and the major reason for the undercounting of women workers and under valuation of their contribution to the economy is the ‘invisibility’ of their work as well as a narrow definition of the term ‘economic activity’.
The nature of women’s work is like that there is no dividing line bordering when she is doing household work and when her occupational work starts. Instead women
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A lack of information on the nature of unemployment among women has significant implications. Data inadequacies led to misconceptions about women's work roles and their employment needs. It can have serious repercussions on the effectiveness of economic resources allocated to women development schemes. For example, employment projects for the poor women would be misdirected or misinformation about the availability of women for employment may lead to their non-recruitment.
For making strategies for fully utilizing resources for advancing the role and status of women in society, it is necessary that data on female participation in economic activity reflects their position accurately. Therefore, data collection agencies should recognise their work as economic activity.
In this context, this paper makes an attempt to examine the trends in female work force participation rate (FWPR) in India as a whole as well as cross state variations in 15 major states during last five decades (1961- 2011) on the basis of data provided by Census of India. In this process, the paper also looks at the nature and sources of data biases which lead to an undercounting of women and also, in a way try to point out that how they could be corrected.
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The relevant literature includes; Bina Agarwal (1985) who looked at the issue related to work participation of rural women in the third world tried to trace the biases in census information and found out inadequacies in data coverage and pointed out some conceptual biases in data use and finally gave corrective measures so that these shortcomings could be overcome. Rohini Nayyar (1987) discussed some of the issues related to female participation rates in rural India and highlighted the problems of data collection with respect to women workers and the errors that are inherent in estimates of female participation rates in India. She also attempted to analyse inter-state differences in female participation rates and tried to identify the possible factors underlying these differences. Jeemol Unni (1989) while discussing the conceptual, definitional and operational problems which result in under-enumeration of female workers in large-scale censuses and sample surveys in India found that the widely alleged decline in the female participation rates is not substantiated. In fact, female work force participation rates rose gradually and steadily over the period of study at the all-India level and in most

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